CANE IN­DUS­TRY SET FOR GAYNDAH

Isis Sugar Mill has se­cured a $1.23 mil­lion grant to in­ves­ti­gate ac­cess to wa­ter stor­age in­fra­struc­ture in Gayndah. Gayndah res­i­dents have voiced their con­cerns as it could af­fect soil in the re­gion. 6800 hectares of sugar cane could be planted around G

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Adam McCleery adam.mccleery@cnbtimes.com.au

SOME Gayndah res­i­dents are voic­ing their con­cerns on so­cial me­dia af­ter the Fed­eral Govern­ment an­nounced the North Bur­nett is be­ing con­sid­ered for new sugar cane crops.

The Isis Sugar Mill has se­cured a $1.23 mil­lion

Ken O’Dowd The North Bur­nett has some of the most fer­tile vol­canic soils in the country.

grant un­der the Na­tional Wa­ter In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Fund to in­ves­ti­gate ac­cess to wa­ter stor­age in­fra­struc­ture in the Gayndah area.

Su­sanne Capewell said the risk to the soil in the area was very real if sugar cane was to be har­vested there.

“Cane causes to­tal degra­da­tion of the soil af­ter seven years and you can’t grow any­thing else,” Mrs Capewell said.

“I be­lieve that Mr O’Dowd should be in­vest­ing his time and pow­ers to be into the ex­ist­ing cit­rus in­dus­try and not cane.”

North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil Mayor Rachel Cham­bers said the coun­cil was not made aware of the an­nounce­ment un­til the morn­ing of and would look into it fur­ther upon re­ceiv­ing more in­for­ma­tion.

“I have spo­ken pre­vi­ously to Isis sugar about their plans and yes I sup­port any for­ward progress for the re­gion,” Mrs Cham­bers said.

“How­ever this progress will al­ways come with max­i­mum ben­e­fit to our re­gion, the North Bur­nett will not serve as just to prop up other re­gions.”

Mrs Cham­bers re­as­sured the com­mu­nity that cur­rent in­dus­tries within the area would not be detri­men­tally af­fected in favour of another.

“This newly elected coun­cil will need to be well in­cluded and in­formed by all in­volved for any de­ci­sions to be made into the fu­ture,” Mrs Cham­bers said.

It is hoped that the fea­si­bil­ity study can pro­vide greater wa­ter se­cu­rity for the North Bur­nett and the Isis Sugar Mill which is look­ing into the pos­si­bil­ity of plant­ing 6,800 hectares of sugar cane around Gayndah.

Fed­eral mem­ber for Flynn Ken O’Dowd has wel­comed the govern­ment’s de­ci­sion and the po­ten­tial for greater wa­ter se­cu­rity within the North Bur­nett.

“An­nounce­ments like this, cou­pled with the work this govern­ment has done to open new ex­port mar­kets shows how com­mit­ted we are to hav­ing busi­nesses in the bush not only sur­vive, but to thrive,” Mr O’Dowd said. “The North Bur­nett has some of the most fer­tile vol­canic soils in the country, cou­ple this with an un­pre­dictable cli­mate and wa­ter se­cu­rity fast be­comes a pri­or­ity.”

Fed­eral mem­ber for Hin­kler Keith Pitt said the study could pro­vide up to an ad­di­tional 28,000 mil­lion litres to de­velop the 6,800 hectares and could boost pro­duc­tion by 500,000 tonnes. “This in turn could re­sult in the cre­ation of an es­ti­mated 92 jobs and $60 mil­lion a year for the re­gional econ­omy,” Mr Pitt said.

“This project could also re­sult in re­in­stat­ing the crest level of Claude Whar­ton Weir.”

Mr O’Dowd be­lieves that this de­vel­op­ment will boost the North Bur­nett’s pro­file.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

MA­JOR AN­NOUNCE­MENT: Fed­eral mem­ber for Flynn Ken O’Dowd dis­cussing the re­cent $1.23 mil­lion grant to in­ves­ti­gate ac­cess to wa­ter stor­age in­fra­struc­ture in the Gayndah area.

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